Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson´s 1999 Speak is a fiction novel set in current Syracuse, New York. Protagonist Melinda Sordino is a round and dynamic character who learns that with time she can accept what happened to her. In August, before Melinda´s first year of high school, Melinda calls the police when she is at a party. When Melinda´s friends and peers discover she broke up the party and got people arrested, she gets deserted and bullied. Over the course of the school year, Melinda´s past unfolds. When Melinda reveals her rape to her ex-best friend Rachel, her attacker comes to rape her again. Andy, the rapist, is caught by the lacrosse team and the story of Melinda´s rape is spread throughout the school. The traumatic events that Melinda experienced caused her to change dramatically. Her change and the conflicts/traumas she experiences help develop the main theme illustrated in the novel, which is depression. Melinda exhibits the behavior of a depressed person throughout the novel. One of the turning points in the novel is when Heather says she doesn´t want to be friends anymore. This makes Melinda realize that she has no one and this brings out the theme of depression. If a person doesn´t have a friend to fall back on (like Melinda), they can fall into depression (or a deeper depression) and have a hard time getting out of it. Everyone needs a friend, especially during tough times.

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